Who knew herons eat rabbits?
The food chain is an ugly part of nature. Either you're on top of it or you're one of the bottom links. That's just the harsh reality of how things go for wild animals, especially in places like Africa. One of the more interesting predatory birds is the heron. These animals are wading birds that eat mostly fish, crustaceans, and small amphibians. Most people in North America are already familiar with the great blue heron that calls the wetlands of many parts of the U.S. home.
Another fascinating species is the grey heron (ardea cinerea), which is native to mostly Africa, Europe, Japan and other parts of Asia in the breeding season. Just like the blue heron, these are large birds with long legs that are often found stalking shallow water areas.
This video shows that their diets aren't strictly limited to things that swim in freshwater though. This heron snatches a baby rabbit out of what appears to be a burrow. It only takes a few moments for the small mammal to disappear down the bird's gullet.
It may be hard for some people to watch, but this is just another day in the wild for the animals that live there. It only took a few seconds for the bird to snatch that bunny up in that yellow bill and turn it around to swallow it head-first. Many baby rabbits are lost to predation though. While sightings of herons eating small mammals like this are rare, they happen more often than most people realize.
In case you were wondering, the size of the gray heron is comparable, but usually smaller than great blue. The grey heron has a wingspan of 66-80 inches and stands about 40 inches tall. Like all members of the greater heron family (Ardea), these are large birds. Despite this, they have a short lifespan of only about five years as compared with other predatory birds in the wild.
The grey heron is an impressive and skilled bird at hunting, and we have a bit more respect for their abilities after watching this video of a rabbit becoming a meal!